The Newberys are coming. And the Caldecotts, and the Printzes, and the Geisels, and the Schneiders, and the Stonewalls...
Whatever wins or doesn't, I'm going to read, recommend, and try to emulate books that look good to me. But a) these awards are significant in that they serve as some indication of what the gatekeepers value in children's literature and also influence which books will end up in a lot of young hands and b) it's January, the streets are slushy, and it's fun to have things to get excited about.
Part of the fun this year is that a lot of the awards seem wide open. Oh, Bink and Gollie is gunning for the Geisel, methinks. But the Newbery? There doesn't seem to be a front-runner, which means that if I want to be ready to cheer at the announcement, I'm just going to have to read a lot of good-looking books. I've read Zora and Me and Touch Blue, I'm halfway through Mockingbird--thanks, Secret Gnome at work--and I took Keeper and The Dreamer out today. One Crazy Summer is next on my list. The Printz field looks even wider, but I have Revolution and The Last Summer of the Death Warriors on my to-read-soon shelf.
The Caldecott has plenty of worthy contenders as well. I'd do plenty of cheering if the gorgeous and imaginative Art and Max won. But my less traditional side holds out a jazzy little hope for Pete the Cat.
Happy January, folks. Sing it with Pete and me now: "I love my wet shoes, I love my wet shoes, I love my wet shoes."
(Anyone else? Predictions? Hopes?)